State Politics

Another Florida poll shows potential 2018 Senate race deadlocked

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, left, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson could both be on the 2018 Senate ballot.
Republican Gov. Rick Scott, left, and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson could both be on the 2018 Senate ballot.

Yet another Florida poll shows a tied 2018 U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott has not announced his candidacy. But pollsters are treating him as the de facto GOP nominee — and he’s tied with Nelson at 44 percent, according to a survey released Thursday by the Jacksonville-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy. Twelve percent of respondents were undecided.

The results represent a post-Hurricane Irma bump for Scott, who in February trailed Nelson by 45-41 percent. A Wednesday poll by Mason-Dixon found a majority of Floridians thought Scott handled Irma well.

“The swing has come primarily among unaffiliated voters, with Scott taking a 44-40 percent lead,” pollster Brad Coker wrote in a memo summarizing the results. “In February, nelson was ahead of Scott 46-37 percent among these Independents.”

Nelson leads among Democrats (by 82-9 percent), women (47-40 percent), blacks (87-4 percent) and Hispanics (54-32 percent), according to Mason-Dixon. Scott is favored among Republicans (by 81-6 percent), men (49-40 percent) and whites (54-34 percent).

Nelson leads in blue South Florida but Scott is ahead in red North Florida and Southwest Florida, and in swing Central Florida. Tampa Bay is tied.

A higher percentage of respondents had a more favorable view of Scott than of Nelson (44-38 percent), but a higher percentage also had an unfavorable view of the governor compared to the senator (33-32 percent). Similarly, Scott’s job performance exceeded Nelson’s (53-50 percent), but so did his job disapproval (40-35 percent).

Mason-Dixon polled 625 registered voters by phone from Oct. 17-19. The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

A University of North Florida poll released Tuesday also showed the potential match-up virtually tied, with Nelson ahead of Scott by 37-36 percent and 20 percent undecided. That survey, however, showed voters without party affiliation favoring Nelson by 32-28 percent.